The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Clueless on Cramer
Tom Smith

The comedy industry is ganging up stock picker Jim Cramer of "Mad Money".  John Stewart of all people is lambasting him for not forseeing the financial crisis that caught most of Wall Street by surprize.  What is going on here?  

But isn't it obvious?  This is not about whether Cramer picks stocks well or not or has a good crystal ball.  It is about the fact the Cramer dared to criticize Obama harshly and effectively from his very prominent pulpit.  Mad Money has a huge audience, and Cramer went off on what Obama is doing to the stock market.  Repeatedly calling Obama a "Leninist"!  That's pretty strong talk, and for that he must be punished.  More than punished, he must be stopped. This is a campaign to shut Cramer up. This is just more Saul Alinsky and it's actually pretty creepy stuff.  It's sending the message to those in the media who dare to criticize the O that the White House's pet media will go after you personally if you do.  I don't know if there's such a thing as comedic integrity, but for Stewart, I think ideology comes first.  Notice the response is not to defend Obama but to try to discredit Cramer, and his network CNBC as well.  His critics are trying to get Cramer's bosses to lean on him too.  I don't think it is too conspiratorial to suspect the White House is, let's say, following this dust up carefully.

And it's not just the comedy industry either.  Last night the Lehrer News Hour had a pathetic segment on Jim Cramer which consisted of two or three talking heads I had never heard of saying things like, "yeah, somebody should call Cramer to task, yeah, yeah", making me think of the Monty Python routine "She's a witch!".  Then some guy from Business Week said, Business Week is not Cramer!

I think there is something to the meme that people like Cramer are the enemy of Obama because Cramer believes in a version of the American Dream that is just incompatible with what apparently is the goal of our young president.  Not an ownership society but a society in which everybody depends on the government.  Cramer seems to have seen the light and is now a sort of John the Baptist in reverse, saying to all who will listen "He's Not the One After All!!"  No wonder they want to take him down.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I urge everybody who has a moment to tune into Mad Money on CNBC and support Cramer.  I don't ever believe what stock pickers say, but listening to Jim rant is good clean fun.  I'm sure there must be drinking games that could be organized around his show.  What's being done to him is gutter Chicago politics, and people should see that and do what they can to oppose it. Cramer may be right or wrong about GE, Walmart or Amalgamated Tarsands, but the man's got stones and does not deserve to be taken down by a bunch of sleezy flacks posing as public guardians while they get encouraged by our new Squid Overlords in DC.

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Comments

You are dead wrong. Cramer is a shill. Please lookup Stockgate, Rocker Partners, Herb Greenberg, and the shareholders of the Street.com. I have tracked this for 12 years. They continuously used the media to attack small companies and naked short them. If the public knew how stocks are manipulated, no one would ever invest here again. The diffence now is that Cramer explained on tape how it is done and Jon Stewart aired the tapes. Spitzer was his good friend. Please do some research, it will make you ill.

Posted by: athena | Mar 14, 2009 10:04:09 AM

athena is 100% correct. Cramer (and CNBC) has long deserved a much-needed evisceration and Stewart - no matter what the reason - provided a historical ass-kicking that was priceless. Cramer is a shill and a tool and Stewart unclothed him.

Posted by: rbk | Mar 14, 2009 11:06:11 AM

Cramer may be a shill, I don't know. If he's actually part of criminal stock manipulation, he deserves to be prosecuted. My point is that people like Stewart are going after him now because he is attacking Obama and his effect on the market. I also think there is a real danger that people who are against markets will use attacks on people like Cramer to discredit the market generally. Now it may be that Cramer is a discredit to capitalism. But that doesn't make the motives of those attacking him any better or less dangerous.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Mar 14, 2009 11:22:01 AM

Setting aside the fact that his show is hilarious, Jon Stewart is perhaps the most ironic and hypocritical figure in the media (and a total ***hole to boot). I think the most instructive evidence of these points is his old interview on Crossfire (http://www.spike.com/video/jon-stewart-on/2652831).

It is clear from the Crossfire clip and from watching the Daily Show that Stewart believes the cable networks (especially FOX News) are perpetrating great harm on the national dialogue. There is some truth to that. The irony is that Stewart is exactly the same, but can't get his head around that fact.

His audience is composed largely of young people who pretty much get their news from one source-The Daily Show. They watch, to borrow his own phrase, this "partisan hack" hold conservatives' feet to the fire and give liberals a pass, day after day. He is a pretty skilled debater, and when challenged, leans on his comedy to deflect or change the subject. This works well because his audience is generally predisposed to dislike conservatives and conflate cool and funny with right. "Dude, Jon Stewart for president," and all. Is this GOOD for the national dialogue?

What makes Stewart worse than cable news is that he is so dishonest about what he is doing. It's JUST a comedy show, he says, ridiculing any comparison to the Crossfires of the world. Excuse me? Crossfire is not news either. Neither is Hannity, Oreilly or most of what goes on on CNN and FOX News. It is commentary and entertainment. The Daily Show is commentary and entertainment. Seriously, how does this guy get away with it?

Posted by: sean | Mar 14, 2009 9:52:45 PM

Cramer has many faults but his criticisms of Obama are reasonable and deserve to be evaluated on their merits. "I just want some sign that Obama realizes the market is totally falling apart, and that his agenda has a big hand in that happening" -- that's the gist of our worries, isn't it? A decent President might address those worries rather than encourage them.

That the Obama administration and its propagandists demonize a prominent media figure who puts the matter bluntly reveals that Obama cares more to engage in demagogic attacks against critics than he does about the economy.

Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 15, 2009 2:09:06 AM

I am responding to anyone who thinks Cramer is not a shill. He is correct about Obama, but so are many others. Jon Stewart is attacking him on his bad calls, often to help his hedge fund friends. Anyone on wall street will tell you that Obama is bad for the economy. But so is Cramer.

Posted by: athena | Mar 15, 2009 9:19:34 AM

I think the relevant fact here is that Stewart only decided to attack Cramer when Cramer started criticizing Obama.

Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 15, 2009 11:46:24 AM